When I came to Whistler for the first time, I didn't know what to expect. I saw a lot of people riding on their bikes and I'm still shocked on how many people ride in the bike park everyday. When I was going up for another run I saw someone who caught my eye and mind for a long time. It was Stacy Kohut shredding on his fourcross bike.Read on for my interview with Stacy Kohut
As I'm a writer for the Polish bike magazine 43RIDE, I instantly thought of an article about him to our mag. Two days later (me and my friend, Michał Chodkowski) met with Stacy for a little photoshoot. We weren't alone because on the same day Nicole Fitzgerald from SHAW TV was shooting an interview with Stacy.
Nicole Fitzgerald & Stacy Kohut
Preparing for the interview
Stacy Kohut is a unique personality. Outside Canada he's best known as a gold medal champion in skiing in the Paralympic Winter Games in Lillehammer. He is linked with cycling by the fact, that he is a co-owner of R-ONE, a producer of 4-wheel bikes for disabled sportsmen allowing them to ride downhill.
Stacy started his adventure with sports at childhood, and sports have always been part of his life. He started in 1980 with BMX racing and motorbikes. He was also into skiing and snowboarding. Suddenly in 1992 his life changed dramatically – while playing on a swing, he became a handicap. He fell down from the swing and broke his back, the result from the crash is that he ended-up in paralysis from the waist down. This tragedy has not stopped him from continuing his passions. On contrary, from that moment onwards his sport achievements overshadowed his previous successes.
: "My way to the medal started soon after my accident in 1992. From the beginning I had to set up small goals, after achieving them I set new ones. First of all you must stay yourself, laugh when you can and constantly aim at achieving your goals. If you want to be the best in something, this will certainly help you.”[/Quoten]
His biggest success was achieving gold in skiing during the Paralympics in Lillehammer, Norway (1994). This means that he became the first Canadian, to win a gold at the Paralympics. His next successes happened during the Paralympics in Nagano, Japan (1998 ). Already at this point, you could find Stacy in Whistler in the bike park on his fourcross bike.
Fourcross is built on a simple idea. The whole construction is based on standard bike parts, so you'll find four Fox dampers, four Hayes’ brakes, Sun Rims’ rims on Maxxis’ tires. If we add brands such as Oakley and Troy Lee Designs, we will get the full list of the companies supporting Stacy. However the heart of his bike is the R-ONE frame, which is made of aluminum and steel and it's handmade by Johnny Therien, the co-owner of R-ONE.Stacy Kohut: "R-ONE is a company managed by riders. R-ONE builds, rides, races and sells fourcrosses. In previous years nobody has built or sold more than R-ONE. R-ONE hails from the epicentre of the lift assisted mountain bike movement, Whistler ,B.C., in the good 'ol C.A. of N"
R-ONE means two people: Stacy - "mouth" and Johnny Therien - "hands". By “mouth” I mean the person who takes care of adverts, PR, promotions etc. Whereas Johnny is responsible for assembling whole bikes and welding R-ONE frames.
The whole magic of these bikes is that they are able to run down nearly every DH track. The width of this set up is only 2" bigger than a standard bike. The suspension system is very simple (like single pivot?) and makes the ride comfortable. Complete bikes weigh around 32kg (70lbs) and are built to resist everything. Stacy is proud of the fact, that his frame is in good shape and already in its fifth season without any damage!
Racing the fourcross started at the end of the 80s and was initiated by John Castellano and John Davis. Now Stacy Kohut and Johnny Therien continue this trend and help other disabled sportsmen to make their dreams come true. Both of them hope that this sport will develop further and so will their R-ONE company.
Stacy Kohut: "Riding fourcross allows for an incredible linkage of different cycling styles. The most important one is downhill, but we can find other elements from car racing and motocross. This sport is achievable for all that like riding a bike or motorbike, cross-country or on roads."
Michal showing some photos to Stacy
You'll run into Stacy in the Whistler Bike Park. Personally I had the opportunity to take few runs with Stacy on A-Line and honestly catching him on a bike is quite a difficult job. The height of his jumps is about the same as we can make on bikes, but there are moments when he's much faster than a bike. Also he has a few shortcuts built specially for his fourcross bikes.
Why am I so happy after meeting Stacy? I had a 'little' crash 2 years ago and I broke my back. Fortunately it wasn't 'big fail' so after three months in bed I could get back on my bike. But my crash changed my mind and now I'm riding a little safer - if I can say that in addition to dirt jumping. After my meeting with Stacy I'm sure that "nothing is impossible" and nothing can stop me (us?) in realizing my passion everywhere and everytime... and I hope I’ll meet him again one day.
"Ride for fun, race to win!"
Stacy Kohut & Johhny Terrien's R-ONE website: r-onefourcross.com Here's a video of Nicole's coverage from TV:
Text by Tomasz Profic
Photos by Michał Chodkowski
Thanks to Agnieszka Nowicka for help with translating
43RIDE bike magazine
ps. If you know some polish or just want to know what's happening in Poland you can check our mag at 43RIDE.com. It's in PDF format and downloading is free - just right click and save as...
43RIDE bike mag issue #8